Tari Tari – 13 (Fin)

The choir club defies the school board chairman with the support of the principal and vice principal, and hold their White Festival in the school’s central courtyard as the rainclouds part. Afterwords, Sawa announces she’s going abroad to train to be a jockey. The others graduate and send her a video, then set to work pursuing their various goals.

So in the end, the club gets its way, with the bad guy merely stepping aside and allowing the White Festival shortly after being assaulted by Principal Ikezaki and having his pants pulled down in front of five minors. For someone who has a chaffeur and designated umbrella holder, he sure gives in easily, but we suppose with the growing audience to the confrontation, he wanted to avoid bad PR. So, the club got to sing the song Wakana and her mom wrote. And while we don’t want to pooh-pooh one of the focal points of the series, we have to point out that if you’re going to make that focal point a song, it had better be a good one. So to be painfully honest, we found the song, and the dramatic performance, a bit cloying. It just didn’t do it for us.

We were always more interested in the characters, not in their songs, but everyone other than Wakana is given a bit of a short shrift. Konatsu remains unsure of what she wants to do, so she goes to college. Sawa rides horses abroad. Taichi plays badminton, and misses Sawa, whom he never asked out. Wien…goes back to Austria and meets his pen pal. All of these are kernals and jumping-off points for potentially interesting stories, but the series had no more time to delve into them. A serviceable end to a pleasant-enough series that never quite got there with the characters – something Kokoro Connect has thus far excelled at.

Rating: 6 (Good)

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Rinne no Lagrange – 24 (Fin)

Still in Rinne, Madoka, Lan and Muginami find Dizelmine unconscious on the beach with Yurikano. She tells them their will changed his heart and brought him back, and she’ll stay there with him. Madoka isn’t having any of it, and they return to Kamogawa with Yurikano and Dizelmine, who loses ten years in age. Moid evaporates. Youko, Asteria, and Nuvomundus continues its research on the Vox and Rinne. After graduation, Madoka keeps the Sweats Club together and even adds more members, using the Vox to expand the range of their duties across Polyhedron.

Well, not only can three yelling girls defeat one yelling crazy guy, they can make him un-crazy, and save the world by singing the Sweats Club Song! His plans foiled, Moid simply disappears, while the Polyhedron planet collision problem kinda fixes itself. Madoka, Lan, and Muginami stay together after high school and continue operating as the Jersey Club, helping people all over the galaxy. Everyone comes out okay (except the unlamented Moid), and Dizelmine emerges ten years younger and is forgiven for trying to Blow Everything Up.

Too neat an ending for you? Not enough peril, or sacrifice, you say? Well, this was always a series that always throttled back when things got too dark, and was never above lightening an otherwise tense or somber mood with the occasional moment of levity. A series that neither sought nor required Gundam levels of seriousness. It was, for its entire run, presented a pleseant and hopeful vision. Things may have gotten pretty hairy there for a time, but Madoka & Co. pulled through like everyone knew she would, and disaster was averted. We leave the Sweats Club busier and more in demand than ever, as humanity embraces their spacefaring cousins who left Earth twenty milennia ago.

Rinne no Lagrange was never about war between robots or planets or nations or siblings – it was about peace, friendship, reconciliation, and accomplishing great things together…and always having a lunch packed for you.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Shiki – 17 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 27 Nov 2010 – Seishin still can’t get on board with Toshio’s methods, and this is driven home when he meets exactly what he’s been talking about: Toru, who is killing to live, not out of evil or hatred. Do vampires have just as much a right to kill humans as humans have to kill animals to live? Is this just the luck of the food chain? This seems to be his line of thinking: Killing vampires is still killing. He won’t kill. After a strange encounter with poor tormented Kaori, he goes to the Kirishikis’ mansion to hang out with Sunako. Will she bite him?

Meanwhile, Toshio is holed up in his clinic, carving stakes for the coming battle. He definitely seems resolved to go out fighting. When another victim arrives, he lets slip that it isn’t an epidemic. Ritsuko, remembering seeing Nao in action, asks Toshio what he meant, but the conversation stalls. When a fellow nurse is kidnapped, Ritsuko is drawn out into the night and bitten herself, and it’s over. It seemed she had come around to the conclusion about what was going on, but it was too late. She is glamored by her biter to refuse treatment and insist on being left alone.

Finally, Mrs. Kirishiki appears in the clinic, with her…interesting outfit. Toshio comes at her with a stake but Mr. Kirishiki shoots it to pieces with a sniper rifle. Is this...Game Over? Well, she bites him, and tells him to burn his data, and he does. But who said this wasn’t the next stage of the plan Natsuno suggested? Natsuno can think for himself; perhaps the risen Toshio will be rebellious as well.

Of course, first things first: Toshio has to die and rise. And his last words before being bitten suggested he didn’t care about the village anymore; it was full of idiots who did nothing to stop their plight. Excellent stuff.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Mawaru Penguindrum – 15 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 22 Oct 2011 – In this Yuri-centric episode, a young Yuri lives with her horrible, abusive father, a famous, renowned sculptor. He only loves things that are beautiful, and thinks Yuri is ugly, so he “chisels” away at her, leaving a body part bandaged after each session. It is during this abuse that she meets Momoka Oginome, who tries to gain her trust by telling her about a her diary, which she can use to transfer fate to living things, changing their futures. Before Yuri’s father kills her, Momoka transfers Yuri’s fate; her father and the massive tower that represented him is gone, as are her injuries – but Momoka has to pay the price, and dies. Masako infiltrates the bathhouse and makes off with half of the diary, but Yuri still has the half she stole from Ringo.

This episode began with a fresh new opening sequence, so we knew that a big episode was in store, and it didn’t disappoint one bit, opening up an entirely new can of whoopass by answering a lot of questions hanging out there, among them, who was Momoka? We finally see and hear her, as she befriends Yuri. Momoka has god-like powers. Her diary can transfer fate as easily as transfering subway routes (we friggin’ love that analogy). We also know what killed her, and that was a selfless act that saved Yuri from The Worst Father In The World. So there’s a little bit of Jesus in her, too. And how about the fact that the Tokyo Tower used to be a massive stone skyscraper in the shape of Michelangelo’s David? Weird. Wild.

Was was so amazing about this week is just how much managed to be dished out. Not only do we learn a bunch about Momoka and Yuri, but Shoma realizes the error of sending off Ringo so forcably, and comes to save the day – although, true to fate, he doesn’t have to go far, as he just happens to be in the hotel room right next to the one where Yuri has Ringo tied up and ready to do awful things to. We also have a great surprise cameo by Masako, taking back half of the diary after an excellent little battle between the two feisty women. So now we know just how powerful the diary (penguin drum…) is. And if Ringo was successful in using it previously, than it’s clear she too had to pay some kind of price for every fate she changed.


Rating: 10 (Masterpiece)

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